Many journalists prevented from freely covering presidential election

Many journalists prevented from freely covering presidential election

Reporters Without Borders condemns the press freedom violations
that took place during Russia’s presidential election on 2 March. “The
incidents that occurred during the election are indicative of the
nervousness that the authorities feel towards independent journalists,”
the organisation said.

In South Sakhalin, reporter Pavel Abakumov of the
weekly Yuzhno Sakhalinsk Tvoya Gazeta was attacked by an army
lieutenant when he tried to verify whether any electoral fraud was
taking place.

Photographer Evgeni Ivanov was accused of
“resisting the authorities” and “failing to register” when he refused
to stop taking photos in a polling station in the Siberian city of

In St. Petersburg, reporter Tamara Rozunkova of
Grajdanskiy Golos was detained by a militia unit for being in a polling
station without “official authorisation.” Her newspaper is produced by
Golos, an NGO that was monitoring the election.

Although his
papers and permits were in order, another Grajdanskiy Golos reporter
was refused access to a polling station in Chelyabinsk and was told to
remain at least 50 metres away from the entrance. He was arrested when
governor Piotr Sumin arrived but was soon released as he had committed
no offence. He nonetheless continued to be denied entry to the polling

Reporter Anton Nazarov of Vpered, a local daily based
in the Moscow suburb of Ximki, was attacked by militiamen as he left a
polling station with a ballot in his hand. He had done this after being
told by the electoral commission that it would not be a problem.

Moscow and in the Astrakhan region, journalists were told to keep more
than 50 metres away from polling stations and were prevented by the
security forces from interviewing voters. A journalist with the
London-based Daily Telegraph was unable to interview voters in the
Moscow district of Sokol.